Ring will no longer allow police to request doorbell camera footage from users

The update is the latest restriction Ring has made to police activity on the Neighbors app following concerns raised by privacy watchdogs about the company’s relationship with police departments across the country.

Associated Press

Jan 25, 2024, 11:40 AM

Updated 169 days ago

Share:

NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon-owned Ring will stop allowing police departments to request doorbell camera footage from users, marking an end to a feature that has drawn criticism from privacy advocates.
In a blog post on Wednesday, Ring said it will sunset the “Request for Assistance” tool, which allows police departments and other public safety agencies to request and receive video captured by the doorbell cameras through Ring’s Neighbors app.
The company did not provide a reason for the change, which will be effective starting this week.
Eric Kuhn, the head of Neighbors, said in the announcement that law enforcement agencies will still be able to make public posts in the Neighbors app. Police and other agencies can also still use the app to “share helpful safety tips, updates, and community events,” Kuhn said.
The update is the latest restriction Ring has made to police activity on the Neighbors app following concerns raised by privacy watchdogs about the company’s relationship with police departments across the country.
Critics have stressed the proliferation of these relationships – and users’ ability to report what they see as suspicious behavior - can change neighborhoods into a place of constant surveillance and lead to more instances of racial profiling.
In a bid to increase transparency, Ring changed its policy in 2021 to make police requests publicly visible through its Neighbors app. Previously, law enforcement agencies were able to send Ring owners who lived near an area of an active investigation private emails requesting video footage.
“Now, Ring hopefully will altogether be out of the business of platforming casual and warrantless police requests for footage to its users,” Matthew Guariglia, a senior policy analyst at the digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation, said in a statement on Wednesday.
Law enforcement agencies can still access videos using a search warrant. Ring also maintains the right to share footage without user consent in limited circumstances.
In mid-2022, Ring disclosed it handed over 11 videos to police without notifying users that year due to “exigent or emergency” circumstances, one of the categories that allow it to share videos without permission from owners. However, Guariglia, of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said the group remains skeptical about the ability of police and the company to determine what is or is not an emergency.
Last summer, Ring agreed to pay $5.8 million to settle with the Federal Trade Commission over allegations that the company let employees and contractors access user videos. Furthermore, the agency said Ring had inadequate security practices, which allowed hackers to control consumer accounts and cameras. The company disagrees with those claims.


More from News 12
1:57
Stop & Shop to close 10 ‘underperforming’ locations across New Jersey

Stop & Shop to close 10 ‘underperforming’ locations across New Jersey

1:46
STORM WATCH: Chance of stormy weather tonight into Saturday for parts of NJ

STORM WATCH: Chance of stormy weather tonight into Saturday for parts of NJ

1:45
Police: Driver faces charges for striking man in hit-and-run road rage incident in Fair Lawn

Police: Driver faces charges for striking man in hit-and-run road rage incident in Fair Lawn

1:52
AT&T security breach hits nearly all cellular customers and landline accounts

AT&T security breach hits nearly all cellular customers and landline accounts

1:16
Prosecutor: Bergen County pastor charged with 21 counts of sexual offenses against teen

Prosecutor: Bergen County pastor charged with 21 counts of sexual offenses against teen

3:06
Jury ends first day of deliberations in Sen. Bob Menendez's corruption trial without a verdict

Jury ends first day of deliberations in Sen. Bob Menendez's corruption trial without a verdict

0:33
Jersey Proud: Jamesburg police ‘ticket’ children performing good deeds

Jersey Proud: Jamesburg police ‘ticket’ children performing good deeds

0:47
Point Pleasant Beach officials at odds with company over 5G cell towers

Point Pleasant Beach officials at odds with company over 5G cell towers

1:41
Heavy rain causes flooding in parts of southern New Jersey

Heavy rain causes flooding in parts of southern New Jersey

2:21
Ruptured pipe causes raw sewage to pour into Red Bank storm drains

Ruptured pipe causes raw sewage to pour into Red Bank storm drains

1:59
Coach USA cutting 20 NJ Transit bus routes in North Jersey

Coach USA cutting 20 NJ Transit bus routes in North Jersey

0:32
East Brunswick teen accused of plotting to destroy energy facilities to advance white supremacist views

East Brunswick teen accused of plotting to destroy energy facilities to advance white supremacist views

0:13
Sailor saved from capsized sailboat in Barnegat Bay

Sailor saved from capsized sailboat in Barnegat Bay

0:40
United Airlines flight from Miami to Newark diverted after passenger fights with flight attendant

United Airlines flight from Miami to Newark diverted after passenger fights with flight attendant

0:28
Fairfield police release new surveillance photos of missing 16-year-old

Fairfield police release new surveillance photos of missing 16-year-old

1:58
PSE&G: Roads reopen in Union City following emergency repairs on ruptured gas line

PSE&G: Roads reopen in Union City following emergency repairs on ruptured gas line

0:24
USDA: Health alert issued for ready-to-eat meat illegally imported from the Philippines

USDA: Health alert issued for ready-to-eat meat illegally imported from the Philippines

0:33
Caught on camera: Car burglar enters unlocked vehicles in Gloucester Township

Caught on camera: Car burglar enters unlocked vehicles in Gloucester Township

0:18
NJ Transit: North Jersey Coast Line rail service resumes; commuters frustrated over continued issues

NJ Transit: North Jersey Coast Line rail service resumes; commuters frustrated over continued issues

2:03
Paws & Pals: Moose now up for adoption with Brick City Rescue

Paws & Pals: Moose now up for adoption with Brick City Rescue